Coming off an embarrassing 50 point loss to France on Sunday, Team Outback from Australia desperately needed to open strong against Brazil in the IFAF World Championship third round game Wednesday and they did just that.
Quarterback Jared Stegman, needing to redeem himself after a poor showing against ‘Les Bleus’, hit Matt Riles for a 58 yard touchdown pass to open the scoring. And then Australia rolled up 134 yards offense to Brazil’s eight in the first quarter to jump out to a 16-0 lead which they would never relinquish as Australia held on to win 16-8.
“Our focus (following the loss to France) immediately turned to Brazil,” Australia head coach John Leijten said. “We knew (Brazil) had only been around seven years, but when you look at these guys, they all have a bright future despite limited experience.
“The first game and the second game were over at half. We had to play 48 minutes (today), but that gives you confidence that you can close out a game.”
As against France, Brazil did not fold though and began battling back. Despite the second Australian touchdown by bruising (260 lb) fullback Nate Lansdel, Brazil proceeded to out-gain Australia in the air (260 yards passing to 140 for Australia) and in terms of first downs (13-8) for the rest of the game.
However, the Oncas could not find the end zone until late in the contest when quarterback Rodrigo Dantas threw a 10 yard touchdown pass to Felipe Leiria with 3 minutes left to make it 16-8 and give Brazil hope.
“It was like the French game (a 31-6 loss),” Brazil defensive back and team MVP Igor Mota said. “If you start well, you’ll finish well. If you start bad, you’ll finish bad. You have to fight three times as hard to come back.”
Damien Donaldson sealed the win though picking off Dantas with 50 seconds left allowing the Outback to run out the clock knowing they will now be facing South Korea in the fifth place game Saturday.
The win against a nation playing in the World Championship tournament for the first time ever was vindication for the Australians. And it also brings a ton of confidence to the Outbacks.
“We know what we have to do to beat them,” Australia defensive lineman and team MVP Carlisle Jones said (referring to the Koreans). “Obviously, we did that the first time. We just have to watch more film and study what they’ve done different from the first game.
“They’ve played two games now. They’ll probably pull out a few more packages. We know we’re good enough to beat them.”